A small yarding of beef cattle rounded out the final Pakenham market at the Victorian Livestock Exchange on Thursday ahead of what could be a mammoth start to 2023.
Agents yarded about 650 cattle during the fortnightly store market, but some agents believe close to 10,000 cattle could pass through the south-eastern saleyards in January.
Fewer pens of weaner cattle meant prices for light-weight steers and heifers rose due to strong competition on vendor-bred cattle, while other grades of cattle were firm compared to recent sales, agents said.
Everitt, Seeley and Bennetts livestock agent Jason McInnes said the sale had several highs and lows.
"It was a mixed yarding but anything with a bit of quality sold well enough," he said.
"There were a few good pens of Angus weaner heifer calves that sold to $1640 and weighed 290 kilograms and 260kg so there were some really strong sales.
"The cattle were mainly bought by local agents from across West Gippsland along with some graziers across the Gippsland."
Northern cattle purchases were few and far between, Mr McInnes said, however, South Gippsland buyer Anthony Hullick, Keswick, was a prominent buyer of store cattle.
"I think we'll see numbers increase in the new year because quite a lot of cattle have been held over for the sales in 2023," Mr McInnes said.
Elders Pakenham livestock manager Michael Robertson said cattle prices fluctuated throughout the sale.
"It was a very small and mixed yarding of cattle but that is to be expected after a very large sale the week before and the final sale for the year," he said.
"The Elders section included a good run of Angus weaner cattle and they would have been $120-$150 and that's because there weren't many runs of those sorts of cattle."
He said weaner cattle were hard to source, with only a handful of pens available.
"We did get the benefit of being the first agent of the sale and we did have a few pens of weaner cattle which was fortunate," Mr Robertson said.
Robertson & Hasthorpe, Tanjil South, sold 11 Angus steers, 337kg, for $1880 a head or 534 cents a kilogram.
M Lizza, Lysterfield, sold 10 Angus steers, 410kg, for $2040 or 497c/kg.
G & S Hasthorpe, Tanjil South, sold 16 Charolais steers, 367kg, for $1720 or 468c/kg, and 18 Charolais heifers, 345kg, for $1600 or 463c/kg.
Moorunga Angus, Dromana, sold 30 Angus heifers, eight to nine months, 275kg, for $1640 or 596c/kg.
The same vendor also sold 12 Angus steers, 308kg, for $1800 or 584c/kg.